Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wave 7 Ordnance

So Ordnance.  There's two Ordnance Upgrades for Wave 7 and honestly it's not surprising it's taken me awhile to cover them.  They're... not great.

Ships that can take Ordnance are as follows:

- Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette
- Modified Pelta-Class Assault Ship
- MC30c Frigates
- MC75 Cruiser (Ordnance Variant can take 2, and both are Large)

- Raider I-Class Corvette
- Gladiator Class Star Destroyer
- Victory I-Class Star Destroyer (Medium)
- Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit (Large)

Ordnance Pods - 3 points

Medium or large ship only.

At the end of your Attack Step, you may exhaust this card and choose 1 of your hull zones.  Then perform an attack from that hull zone with an anti-squadron armament of 1 black die, even if you have already attacked from that zone this round.

This looks pretty darn good as an anti-squadron upgrade.  However, it's limited to medium and large base ships only, which locks it onto one of:  MC75 Armored Cruiser, MC 75 Ordnance Cruiser, Victory I-Class Star Destroyer, or Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit.  Of these, only the Ordnance Cruiser has 2 slots and thus doesn't have that much of a competition for this upgrade slot.  There is a lot of competition for the Ordnance slot in most ships, and Ordnance Pods are typically edged out for other things like the similarly priced External Racks, or a critical effect like Assault Proton Torpedoes / Concussion Missiles.

Where this upgrade shines is in higher point games, where a 3 point insurance policy on a secondary ship isn't a horrible idea.  Both the Ordnance Cruiser and VSD can get a lot of mileage out of this upgrade.  Probably best to leave it at home for 400 point games though.

Wide-Area Barrage - 2 points

Black [Critical Effect]:  If the defender is a ship, choose 1 other ship or squadron at close range of the defender.  That ship or squadron suffers damage equal to half of the total number of black [hit] icons in your attack pool, rounded up.

Another card that looks a lot better than it actually is.  For one thing, it splashes damage to things other than your target, which is something the other Ordnance upgrades don't do.  Splitting damage is.... not great.  Focus fire is how you drop ships after all.

The other issue is how much damage is going to be done?  The "best" use of this is with Sato and Expanded Launchers / External Racks firing out the front of the ship for 7 dice (and thus 4 damage splashed).  Pretty good, but that's a large investment of points to pull that trick off.  Let's assume Concentrate Fire dials and perfect rolls (at least one hit/crit, and every die rolling a hit).  Here's what we can do.

Rebels:  (With Sato add 1 to the total)
 - Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette - 1 damage (Front / Side)
 - Modified Pelta-Class Assault Ship - 2 damage (Front)
 - MC30c Frigate - 2 damage (Side)
 - MC75 Armored Cruiser - 2 damage (Front)
 - MC75 Ordnance Cruiser w/ extra dice Ordnance Upgrade - 3 damage (Front / Sides)

 - Raider I-Class - 2 damage (Front)
 - Gladiator I-Class - 3 damage (Side)
 - Gladiator II-Class - 2 damage (Front / Side)
 - Victory I-Class - 2 damage (Front)
 - Kuat Refit - 2 damage (Front / Side)

If you are planning on using this, or see it used against you remember that non-specific damage against a ship is dealt to one single hull zone with no chance for defense tokens to be used.  So this actually could be a useful upgrade to do things like splash dead flotilla, or to do hull damage to ships with low shields.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Wave 7 Defensive Retrofits

Oh boy, there's a lot of ships that can take a Defensive Retrofit:

- CR-90 Corvette
- MC-30c Frigate
- Assault Frigate Mk II
- MC-75 Cruiser
- MC-80 Assault Cruiser (2 slots)
- MC-80 Command Cruiser

- Arquitens-Class Light Cruiser
- Arquitens-Class Command Cruiser
- Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Wave 7 Offensive Retrofits

There's a lot of ships that can use Offensive Retrofits, but this one is large ship limited, so one should only focus on the following:

- MC-80 Command Cruisers
- MC-75 Cruisers
- Imperial-Class Star Destroyers

Hardened Bulkheads - 5 points

Large ship only.

When you overlap a ship of a smaller size class (or are overlapped by a ship of a smaller size class) deal 1 fewer facedown damage card to your ship.

I can't speak to the design of the game, but this card was probably in development right around the time that the CRambo (7 CR90s with Engine Techs / Reinforced Blast Doors) was making its presence known, before fading into the annals of time where it belongs.  It's an upgrade that lets you use your Large ships more aggressively against smaller ships, knowing that they can't ram you for extra damage and that you can ram them with near impunity.

In practice it's a card that seems through Wave 7 to be relegated to an afterthought.  When it does see play, however, it can be a nasty surprise to an opponent who forgets that it is on your ship, usually by him getting his own ships into places they shouldn't be and then having to deal with a sudden reality that they won't be nearly as effective as he needed them to be.

Funny enough, it also works with your own ships if you need to do some emergency maneuvering to keep yourself at speed but without moving too far forward.

Wave 7 Boarding Teams (Weapon Team + Offensive Retrofit)

Okay, so again I've been a bit lazy about getting around to looking at upgrade cards like I should have back in Wave 7.  Fortunately for me, the SSD only came with new Imperial officers so I have some time to clear out my backlog now that I'm back from vacation!

Anyways, let's look at the Boarding Teams that came with Wave 7!  For a reminder, here's all the ships that can take them:

- Hammerhead Corvette
- Assault Frigate MkII
- MC-75 Cruiser

- Raider-Class Corvette
- Quasar Fire-Class Cruiser-Carrier
- Victory-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial-Class Star Destroyer
- Star Dreadnought Prototype
- Executor-Class Star Dreadnought

So yeah, a lot more options with the Imperials than the Rebels.

Jyn Erso - 4 points - Rebel

When you reveal a command, you may discard a [squadron] dial or token and this card to choose 1 enemy ship at close range.  If that ship has no raid tokens, it gains 2 raid tokens of your choice.  If that ship has an objective token, you may also gain 1 victory token.

This is definitely a sleeper card of Wave 7.  It's a card that just has not seen use at all in Wave 7 and for good reason.  The "may also gain 1 victory token" part of the card isn't actually something that you can set up even as Second Player.  Instead you can only get the full benefit of this card with very specific objectives - Capture the VIP, Intel Sweep, and Blockade Run (the most fun objective).  Capture the VIP is a 50 point swing if you pop it on an opponent's ship, so cool!  Intel Sweep gives you a chance to add to your objective total, and can be a 75 point swing if you pull it off!  But Blockade Run, while the most fun objective to play, only gives objective tokens to the Second Player, so you lose the chance to both bring that objective and have Jyn Erso used to her best ability.

But with Rebellion in the Rim coming out there are now 3 more Red Objectives with Objective Tokens assigned to ships, specifically Ion Storm (15 points - ships gain objective tokens if they are more than distance 1/2 from an obstacle), Marked for Destruction (15 points - ships gain objective tokens as a crit effect at Close-Medium Range), and Rift Assault (10 points - spend a die if a ship is not at distance 1 from an obstacle to give it an objective token).

Plus Yellow Objectives gain Fleet In Being (15 points - all enemy ships start with 1 token), and Blue Objectives gain Hyperspace Migration (20 points - gain a token for a turn if you're next to a purrgil token).  This brings the number of Second Player Objectives that work fully with Jyn Erso to 3 Red, 2 Yellow, and 2 Blue, giving quite a number of objectives to use her with.

She's also a quiet all-star for campaigns and their Green Objectives.  I guess her raid tokens are okay too in disrupting your opponent's plans.  Look for her after Rebellion In The Rim finally comes out.

Darth Vader - 3 points - Imperial

When you reveal a command, you may discard a [squadron] dial or token and this card to choose 1 enemy ship at close range.  Choose and discard 1 non-[Commander] upgrade card equipped to that ship.

Another card you don't see all together very often.  Vader (Boarding Team) does offer quite a bit of versatility though, specifically his ability to break key parts of your opponent's strategy.  A lot of ships are reliant on specific upgrades, and Vader being able to erase those upgrades is a huge advantage.  Probably the best on a smaller ship that isn't reliant on Squadron or Engineering value to deliver a big payload. 

He's also the only way to peel away key defensive upgrades like Electric Countermeasures, Captain Brunson, Damage Control Officer, or Targeting Scrambler.

That being said, he lacks the splash of a Avenger / Boarding Team combo, which leads to him being looked at infrequently at the top levels of play.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wave 7 Rebel Officers (Long Overdue)

Okay, okay.  Clearly I've been slacking in writing these.  Gonna hammer one of these out for every new release article I write.

Anyways, I owe some Rebel Officers.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Super Star Destroyer Commander Upgrades

Hey it's been awhile since we've looked at upgrade cards!  I think I still owe some Wave 7 ones, actually.  Well, anyway let's look at the Super Star Destroyer Expansion commanders, Emperor Sheev "The Senate" Palpatine, and Captain Admiral Firmus Piett.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Screw the Meta: The Steel Command Challenge

Yes people, I still exist. I know I said videos were easier to do than I expected, but then I had to use my game room for storage while we did redid part of the house, then we went in vacation, and then I changed jobs. I also just generally got a bit burned out on the current Armada meta after Worlds. However, the arrival of the SSD, the imminent arrival of Rebellion in the Rim, and the official announcement of the Starhawk all got me feeling a bit better about the game. And then Shmitty went and won GENCON with something that started as a 2am shared fevered dream between him and Biggs, giving me the nice shot in the arm I needed. So I figured now was a good time to pop my head up for some good ol' fashion blogging. I'm about to do a one-year intensive Grad School program, so this could be my last article for a good while. As such, I'm going to leave you all with what I am going to call the Steel Command Challenge based on Shmitty's awesome achievement. Here it is.

The Steel Command Challenge
For the next year, do not take Strategic Adviser, Governor Pryce or Bail Organa at all and only take flotillas if they are the fleet's primary carriers. 

Let go of the crutch of activation padding. Yes, Shmitty had SA, but he had no flotillas at all. Find other ways to adapt and overcome. Bring things that actually fight, not cower around doing nothing be getting in the way. Imagine what you can do with those 40-60 points you're sinking into flotillas. Have a look at all the awesome officers that can go on that large ship. Above all, screw the meta. Let's make a new one. Here's just some of the crazy ideas I have for the coming year.

Ackbar Slash

MC80 Assault Cruiser (114 + 79: 193)
+ Admiral Ackbar (38)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Electronic Countermeasures (7)
+ Early Warning System (7)
+ Leading Shots (4)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Quad Battery Turrets (5)
+ Defiance (5)
MC30c Scout Frigate (69 + 27: 96)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ External Racks (3)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Foresight (8)
MC30c Scout Frigate (69 + 27: 96)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ External Racks (3)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Admonition (8)

Advanced Gunnery
Contested Outpost
Doomed Station


Look familiar? It should. I've been using the core of this on and off for a good while. I've cut out the flotilla fat to add some extra reliability to the MC30 black dice and grab up titles. I've also swapped out Intel Officers for the new Expert Shield Techs to mess with squadrons and other low volume attacks. Double redirects with ESTs I think have a good chance of being quite nice. As a broadsiding list, it doesn't care all that much about activations, so why bother?

Sloane Ship Heavy

Cymoon 1 Refit (112 + 67: 179)
+ Admiral Sloane (24)
+ Minister Tua (2)
+ Electronic Countermeasures (7)
+ Gunnery Team (7)
+ Intensify Firepower! (6)
+ Spinal Armament (9)
+ Linked Turbolaser Towers (7)
+ Avenger (5)
Raider I-class Corvette (44 + 10: 54)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ External Racks (3)
Raider I-class Corvette (44 + 10: 54)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ External Racks (3)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 9: 32)
+ Comms Net (2)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ Suppressor (4)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 5: 28)
+ Comms Net (2)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)

Ciena Ree (17)
Valen Rudor (13)
2 x Tie Interceptor Squadron (2 x 11)

Most Wanted
Contested Outpost
Doomed Station


Ever wanted to use a more minimal squad wing to enable ship shots with Sloane? I think you can do it now with Reserve Hangar Decks. Against squad heavy, you can throw the generics into the meat grinder without losing a lot of points. Against squadless, you can concentrate on trying to strip defense tokens without a huge investment. And remember when Minister Tua was a thing? Screw SA, because I'm bringing her back for that much needed ECM slot on the Cymoon. I have no earthly clue if this list is any good, but it's sure gonna play drastically different than anything out there.

I'm a Leaf on the Wind 2.0

MC80 Star Cruiser (96 + 36: 132)
+ Caitken and Shollan (6)
+ Heavy Ion Emplacements (9)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Quad Battery Turrets (5)
+ Mon Karren (8)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 35: 79)
+ Admiral Raddus (26)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Jaina's Light (2)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 7: 51)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 7: 51)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)

Hera Syndulla (28)
Han Solo (26)
Shara Bey (17)
Tycho Celchu (16)

Surprise Attack
Volatile Deposits
Asteroid Tactics


My signature build, refreshed to play fairly different. Gone are the breakneck Engine Techs on the CR90s. Instead, I've taken their points along with the flotilla points and invested in a medium squad wing. The best part is they're completely independent. I was won over by Hera a while ago, but never found a mix of squads I like with her. Shara and Tycho have always been clutch for me, but are usually not enough on their own. Han, meanwhile, was awesome for me with Sato. My goal is that the four of them together can cover each other's weaknesses and punch above their weight. I've tagged out my usual Intel Officer for Mon Karren in this world of DCO-totting SSDs, but depending on how that plays out, I could go right back.

So are you brave enough to take up the Steel Command Challenge? Post your crazy fleet ideas below.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

How to Build a Dumpster Fire - The Ballad of Garm Part 2

I’m still in a bit of shock, but I actually took the Dumpster Fire to GenCon and won the 2019 Armada North American Championship!

Since then I have received a ton of congratulations from the Armada community for which I am very grateful.  I have also been getting more than a few people asking What? How? Why? Garm? WTF?

So, this post is going to cover the “Why?” of the fleet.  Every piece of it is there for a reason and has a job to do.  The fleet has been described as finely tuned by my opponents and I wanted to give you all a glimpse into what that fine tuning looks like.  I’ll break down my 7 games in the tournament in another post later on.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Commander's Guide - Super Star Destroyer: Star Dreadnought Prototype

We've got our hands on it now, so let's look at how you can bring a Super Star Destroyer into the game.  We'll be starting with the "tournament legal" variants, the Star Dreadnought Prototypes.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Ballad of Garm

I'm here again at GenCon to take another swing at the Armada North American Championships.  This is my 4th time at the tournament.  In my previous 3 attempts I have managed to lose pretty badly in the first round.  I had hoped to combat that by getting to bed a little early this evening.  Then someone in my hotel decided to smoke weed in their room and set off the building fire alarm.

So, thanks to that and my 3-hour jet lag I am now wide awake.  So I figured I would write a bit about the fleet I will be playing tomorrow.

It's time for Garm's Dumpster Fire to take on GenCon.